I went for a bike ride last weekend. Riding my bike always shifts my brain into a calm state, especially when I get into a steep climb. There isn’t room for my mind to worry about bills or politics, it’s just me, the bike and the hill.
I also love the exhilaration of the downhill run, after the long ride up the hill. If there is any bit of fun in life, that you can feel like you’ve totally earned, it’s riding down a steep hill you just worked your butt off to climb.
When I’m out riding I always keep an eye out for cyclists in need. I have been helped by random cyclist myself, so it’s nice to pay it forward. Making the world a better place through service has always been something I connect with.
On this particular occasion I saw a red 1970’s bicycle laying on it’s side next to the road, with a big saddle bag on the ground next to it. Something looked odd about it, but I couldn’t see anybody around, so I decided to just leave it alone assuming the owner would return soon. As I kept riding, I was wondering in the back of my mind what had happened. I found I didn’t have to wonder long.
About 100 yards up the road was a man in cycling gear walking back and forth looking down at the ground. I asked if he needed help. He replied that his back tire had broken loose and he’d lost a small part he needed to reattach it.
A little background on this hill. It’s called Mount Eden and it is in Saratoga, California. Coming down the back side of this hill, where we were, I have managed to get up to about 40 miles an hour. It’s a very curvy road with a sharp turn right at the bottom of the hill. I usually reach the turn and my top speed at about the same time.
I’d also like to point out the obvious. When you’re on a road bike going 40 miles an hour, and you come up on a sharp turn, it’s not an ideal time for your back tire to come off… Come to think of it, I can’t think of any ideal time for your back tire to come off. But that turn would be the worst.
As I stopped to help out, I got more of his story. He was coming down the back side of Mount Eden. At the bottom of the hill, just before the turn, a car was in front of him, forcing him to hit the brakes hard! During this braking maneuver his back wheel had broken off and gotten tangled up in the rear fork of the bike.
This could have easily been a fatal accident. With a back tire that was no longer rolling he managed to go off the road, avoid a big pile of rocks, and stop on the grassy edge of the road 200 yards later.
As I listened to his story I became more and more impressed that I was seeing the aftermath of a miracle. Instead of needing an ambulance or worse, this man had managed to put down his bike and walk away. He had pulled out his mobile phone and calmly called his friend while he proceeded to search for the part he was now missing from his bike.
I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him till he came to his senses and saw the truth of this moment. As I was still in touch with my sense I knew that was a bad idea. But I did manage to ask if he happened to get a good look at who or what was holding up his back tire as he came careening around the corner.
It really hadn’t occurred to him that anything miraculous had happened. At the time of the accident he was simply focused on avoiding the rocks and trying to land his bike. Then, possibly in a state of mild shock or denial, he was simply searching for the 2 dollar part he didn’t want to lose.
When looking back at this story I come away with these two main thoughts.
- When you find yourself worrying about the small stuff, remember that means the big stuff, beyond your control, has been handled for you. AKA: If you can spend your time looking for a 2 dollar widget you may want to remind yourself you’re still alive.
- Miracles happen every day, but sometimes it takes an outsider to see them.
See if you can spot the miracles in your own life today.
If you are having trouble seeing them, ask someone around you to point them out.